Riding on the coattails of a big scoop from an IvyGate blog post a couple weeks ago, the New York Post has an interesting story about the newest, youngest, and preppiest member in Kayne West's entourage. His name is Cassius Clay (no relation to Muhammad Ali, although he reportedly takes his name from the famed 19th-century abolitionist). Clay is a 19-year-old Phillips Academy at Andover alum from Brookline, Mass., and, in case you couldn't tell from the photo above, his blood is bluer than a smurf. IvyGate reports Kanye's newest BFF is a descendant of former Secretary of State Henry Clay and an heir to the influential Clay business empire. According to the Post, the 6’5″ former member of the Phillips Academy debate team dropped out of Yale to sojourn around the world with the rapper as his "personal stylist." The spark that ignited this unusual WASP-meets-mainstream-Hip-Hop bromance? A pair of slippers.
According to the Post, West spotted Clay while shopping at Barneys and was instantly enamored by the Yale sophomore's signature footwear: slippers with gold crests. Kanye quickly sent him an e-mail applauding Clay as "an inspiration" and pointing out "I inspire people like Rihanna and Beyoncé and you inspire me. I need you during this difficult time." Now, rather than sitting in mahogany-paneled lecture halls in New Haven, the Post reports Clay is offering Kanye counsel on his celebrity life and "running around New York dyeing Kanye’s jeans red for televised appearances, sifting through designer showrooms, and desperately trying to find himself an apartment."
Here's the Post's long-winded grab bag of quotes about the multi-platinum rapper's 19-year-old bosom buddy from Clay's former classmates, all of whom seem to be starry-eyed and bewitched by his magnetism:
"It’s tough being a character like Cassius at Andover," says a female school friend, who did not want to be named. “People sometimes construed him the wrong way. He’s such a personality, and in any high school, it is expected that you have to fit into a mold, and Cassius was never one for fitting in.”
"He’s brilliant," adds Kalil, though he admits that Clay comes off as somewhat "austere" and is a "curious fellow." "I would see him and would think, 'You would make a fine character for something.' His image was really clearly defined and interesting," Kalil explains.
At Yale, Clay was known for his patrician-hipster style. When most people donned sweats for class, he came decked out in Harry Potter glasses, feathered bow ties and Hermes scarves. Instead of a backpack, he carried a $5,000 Hermès Birkin bag. He wrote verbose articles about Lady Gaga and his love of libraries for the college newspaper.
Socially, he surrounded himself with a close group of friends, including Nicolas Niarchos, heir to the Niarchos shipping fortune, and a conceptual artist from Hong Kong.
"Cassius is kind of a private person. Which is odd because he is also the kind of person who dresses up in extreme outfits and goes out very hard," says Klein, editor of the Ivy League gossip blog IvyGate, which first reported on the Kanye-Clay partnership.
"He dances up a storm. He is a big personality in some respects, but when it comes to his personal life, he is a bit more reserved."
His own college roommates “rarely ever saw him,” says John Whittaker, a Yale sophomore, though he points out that Clay’s taste for fine wines was well-observed. “He definitely stands out on the college campus,” adds Yale sophomore Amalia Skilton, who also noted that “most people don’t have four names.”
Oh, hey. Here's some more photos via Ivy Gate
What do you think about this kid? Have any additional tidbits to offer? What rapper/athlete/celebrity would you drop out of college to join forces with as an elite member of their entourage? Anyone? Sound Off in the comments...